Protecting tigers with bamboo


How is bamboo creating jobs and protecting tigers in central India?

Born Free’s Living with Tigers programme runs a number of initiatives across Satpuda to protect the estimated 500 tigers that live in central India.

One of the many initiatives is a bamboo workshop, established by Living with Tigers partner Bombay Natural History Society to create jobs and reduce incidences of human-wildlife conflict.

The workshop, in Palasgaon village near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, was established in 2015. It employs 10 young men from the local community who have been trained to create household and decorative items from bamboo that can be sold in local tourist resorts. The expertly crafted products include baskets, trays, lamps, lanterns and waste paper bins. In the past year, the workshop has sold about £4,000 worth of products.

Before the bamboo workshop was set up, local people were illegally taking bamboo from the forest. Not only did this contribute to deforestation, it also put them at risk of human-wildlife conflict. Now, all bamboo used in the workshop is sourced legally and sustainably. It has also created secure jobs for the 10 men employed. It is estimated they earn double that of local people who sell bamboo products independently.

“Bamboo is used as a livelihood option in many villages around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve,” explains Sanjay Karkare, Assistant Director at Bombay Natural History Society. “We realised we could develop a workable model around this livelihood option to encourage locals to support conservation. Through this initiative, we are helping develop an understanding of bamboo as a subject and convincing rural and tribal communities to adopt bamboo for better livelihood opportunities.”

Bombay Natural History Society also runs a bamboo craft course for local people through the workshop. The 45-day course is part of a Green Skills Development Programme supported by the Indian government’s Ministry of Environment. Some 25 women have taken the course.

Initiatives like the bamboo workshop are happening right across Satpuda thanks to Born Free’s Living with Tigers programme. With your help, we can safeguard wild tiger populations and educate more people on the importance of conservation and approaches to co-existence.